Search the word ‘marketing’ for People in LinkedIn and the platform returns around 47.5 million results. That’s a lot of marketing-centric minds, each seeking to come up with innovative and strategic ways to get their company or product ahead of its competitors. And in a landscape so rapidly evolving, climbing to the top is like running a race with a route that keeps changing and without any distinct finish line in place. The term ‘successful’, then, or having ‘made it’, is of course relative, but we’ve taken the liberty to list ten marketers who have, undoubtedly, made impressive achievements, leaving their trail blazed on the road for all future marketers to follow.
Whether you’re looking for the most innovative thoughts on brand marketing, storytelling, digital transformation, social media, or diversity and inclusion, look to our list of the top marketers to follow. I’ve taken the liberty to link each thought-leader’s LinkedIn pages, too, so you can follow along in real time.
1. Bozoma Saint John
Made the list for: her work in brand marketing and diversity advocacy.
A Hall of Fame inducted Marketing Executive, author of The Urgent Life, entrepreneur and “general badass,” Bozoma Saint John started her marketing career in 2000 at Spike Lee’s ad agency, SpikeDDB. Five years later, she went on to manage brands in the PepsiCo beverages portfolio before becoming their Head of Music and Entertainment Marketing. By 2014, she continued her path to success as Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Apple Music & iTunes, Chief Brand Officer at Uber, Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor, and most recently, Global Chief Marketing Officer at the entertainment behemoth, Netflix.
While lauded and awarded by the industries she’s worked in–she has topped the list of many articles on influential CMOs–it’s the combination of her business achievements and her work in diversity advocacy that placed her at the top of our list. Bozoma Saint John is a philanthropic Ambassador to Pencils of Promise in Ghana and serves on the boards of Girls Who Code, Vital Voices, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Soho House and the CFDA.
2. Linda Boff
Made the list for: her innovative marketing strategies and brand storytelling.
A passionate trailblazer with an affection for creating disruptive brand strategies that fuse content, culture, and technology, Linda Boff, CMO at GE, laid the groundwork for the company to be a digital-first brand by bringing on fresh talent, establishing an industry-first digital advisory board and creating in-house labs dedicated to disruptive, revenue-generating marketing initiatives.
With 20 years at the company, she co-leads the 50K person GE Women’s Network and serves as the executive sponsor of GE’s Asian Pacific American Forum. Paying it forward, she also stands as the President of the GE Foundation, where we launched a multi-year global initiative to increase the diversity of young people in engineering.
3. Raja Rajamannar
Made the list for: championing purpose-driven marketing.
Raja Rajamannar has managed large-scale businesses at Fortune 500 companies across industries ranging from financial services and consumer-packaged goods to healthcare, including at Unilever, Citigroup, Anthem, and Mastercard, where he currently serves as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and the President of its Healthcare division.
Globally recognized for his innovative thinking, he is the Author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling novel Quantum Marketing, where he dissects the evolution of marketing and shares how to achieve breakthroughs in innovative thinking to compete in modern business. He lends his expertise to numerous non-profit boards including Bon Secours Mercy Health, New York City Ballet, Cintrifuse, ANA and World Federation Advertisers (WFA).
4. Jonathan Mildenhall
Made the list for: his expertise in brand building and storytelling.
Born in England, Jonathan Mildenhall rose from humble beginnings to lead the marketing teams for one of the world's biggest multinational firms, The Coca-Cola Company and one of the world’s most respected 21st Century companies, Airbnb. Currently the Co-founder and CEO of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, he enables founders and CEOs of the world’s most innovative companies to realize transformational growth through excellence in marketing.
Jonathan is also passionate about creating positive cultural change through diversity in the workplace and equality for all, and authored a book titled A Colourful View From the Top: Twenty-One Extraordinary Stories of Leaders of Colour Achieving Excellence in Business.
5. Antonio Lucio
Made the list for: his focus on brand purpose, diversity, and inclusion.
The former Global CMO of names like Meta, HP, Visa, and Pepsico, Antonio Lucio is an experienced and successful Global Marketing Communications Officer whose mission in life is to build brands that stand the test of time. With a strong focus on brand purpose, he helps companies to have a meaningful impact on people's lives by building strong emotional connections and behaving with integrity.
He is presently a member on the board of directors for EXPRESS, Adweek, and VidMob, and is the Principal and Founder of 5S Diversity, a company aimed at building capabilities in marketing transformation and diversity and inclusion.
6. Alicia Tillman
Made the list for: her exceptional marketing leadership.
Taking on the exciting new role of CMO at Delta in June 2023, Alicia Tillman has built her experience across brands such as American Express and SAP, leading the latter to become one of the 20 most valuable brands in the world with its value increasing more than $18.5 billion under her leadership.
With more than 20 years of experience in global marketing, sales, customer success, strategy, operations, and digital transformation, she leads with purpose and enjoys creating and building projects that make positive change possible. She is currently a board director for Gates Industrial Corporation and has shared some of her insights with us over at The RevOps Team, so be sure to check out our interview with her there.
7. Christina Kozloff
Made the list for: her creative campaigns and excellent storytelling.
Another impressive Chief Marketing Officer we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing right here on The CMO, Christina Kozloff of Plenty of Fish has over 20 years of marketing experience across a breadth of disciplines for both leading and challenger brands.
Motivated by consumer insights to tell meaningful brand stories and develop compelling campaigns, she most recently oversaw the online dating company’s modern rebrand and led the award-winning Gallery of Dick Pics campaign that showcased pictures of wholesome, single men named Richard to promote consensual dating and condemn the sharing of unsolicited pictures. We have to applaud that kind of creativity, and can’t wait to see what’s next. Previously, she worked at Expedia, Microsoft and Rosetta Stone.
8. David Edelman
Made the list for: his expertise in digital marketing and customer experience.
After 30 years as a Chief Marketing Officer (at Aetna/CVS) and building consultancy businesses in Digital and Marketing Transformation (with McKinsey, Digitas, and the Boston Consulting Group), it’s no wonder David Edelman made our list of top marketers to follow.
With a focus on marketing strategy, organization, AI, marketing tech, and health tech, he now advises start-up, private equity, and C-Suite executives on business strategy and teaches aspiring students at Harvard Business School. If Harvard is a little out of your reach, he often takes to LinkedIn to share his thoughts on marketing automation, technology, and trends like AI, so be sure to join his other 1.1 million followers and tune in.
9. Leslie Berland
Made the list for: driving incredible brand engagement through social.
With an impressive roster of titles and companies under her belt–EVP Global Advertising, Marketing and Digital Partnerships at American Express; CMO at Twitter; and now CMO at Peloton–Leslie Berland is moving fast. At Peloton alone, she recently relaunched the brand, revamped the App, and introduced new Gym content from the company’s long list of amazing instructors.
At Twitter, she spent close to seven years as the social media company’s CMO, and prior to that she spent over a decade in executive roles at AmEx establishing the financial service company’s initial social media strategies. If social media is the marketing space you most want to watch, Leslie Berland is the woman to follow.
10. Andréa Mallard
Made the list for: her thoughts on brand strategy, innovation and design.
Last on our list but certainly not least, we have another powerful woman at the top of social media marketing. As the Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Pinterest, Andréa Mallard has been named a 2023 Forbes Top 50 Entrepreneurial CMO and 2023 AdWeek Brand Genius, as well as a 2021 AdAge Marketer of the Year.
Prior to Pinterest, she was the CMO of Athleta, a women's apparel brand where she was awarded the 2018 CMO Award for Creativity & Storytelling, and spent nearly eight years with IDEO. She is now a published author with works published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fast Company, and is a speaker at TEDx and conferences around the globe.
Soaking It All Up
Feeling newly inspired to achieve marketing greatness, I hope you learned a thing or two from this list. I know I’ll be following all ten of these marketing leaders, taking any chance I can get to soak up their experience and share all the most insightful tidbits with the community here at The CMO. To stay up to date on all things marketing and ensure you don’t miss any exciting interviews, be sure to sign up for the The CMO newsletter.